Syracuse University Social Media Strategy

As many of you know, Syracuse University is a school that is “smart” at social media. Kate Brodock, executive director of digital and social media at Syracuse University directs a student team that manages SU’s social media presence and they do an admirable job at spreading SU’s message effectively and engaging with a variety of stakeholders online.

For my case study in Public Relations Theory with Brenda Wrigley I took a deeper look at the strategic thinking behind the school’s actions on social media. I began by looking at things like “An analysis of the increasing impact of social and other new media on public relations practice” in the Public Relations staple, the Institute for PR and the “Summary of Findings from the Third Comprehensive Study of Social Media Use by Schools, Colleges and Universities” by the higher ed communication masters at mStoner. I was able to convince the SU library to buy primary research on PR practice in higher ed which provided good quantitative data on what a variety of schools are doing.

I combined that background research with in-depth interviews, news reports, and archival information to have concrete evidence to support the notion that engagement with many stakeholders via social media is crucial to effective public relations practice in higher education. However, that’s not the long and short of it. It’s not enough to simply say “We need to be on Facebook and tweet at people and have videos of campus with corny music.” It’s about having an understanding of where your audiences are, what kind of content interests them, and in what form they want that content.

Being open to communicating with stakeholders makes this much easier and having an understanding of website and social media analytics doubly so. My paper is nowhere near the final word, but it’s a start.

Note: This semester, as a a graduate intern for Kate Brodock I’ll be working on content strategy for the school’s various accounts, organizing all the multitude of accounts of the school, and after I learn how to do so effectively in “NEW 600: Visual Journalism”, creating video content for the school.

Learning beyond the classroom

how to get a job

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I just received my final grades for this past semester. I’m halfway done my master’s degree and I have an excellent GPA. That’s all fine and dandy but that’s not going to get me an interview, much less a job.

As Newhouse’s graduate student employment statistics document makes clear,

“A master’s degree doesn’t guarantee a better job right away or higher salary without professional experience before beginning a master’s program. Instead, a master’s degree pays off in the form of earlier promotions and raises a few years after graduation.”

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, I have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to be doing immediately after Newhouse in June (creating web content and managing social media for higher ed). The issue now is to make the most of the time and energy I have in the next 5 months to ensure I’m the most qualified I am for the kind of positions to which I’ll be applying. So, in addition to taking the required

Understanding Financial Statements,
Financial Markets and Institutions,
Public Relations Practicum,
Public Relations Campaign Planning and Execution

and Public Relations Management, I’ll be working on skills I’ll need to land my first job.

I’ve looked at dozens of job listings similar to those I’ll be applying for in April. I’ve found that there things that employers either require or prefer for those positions that aren’t covered to the extent I need in my curriculum but which I can improve upon in the meantime. Below are those skills and what I’m doing/have done to improve them.

Basic Photography/Videography  – taking a Newhouse course that covers

  • Multi-Platform Photojournalism using Multiple Mediums
  • HDSLR Camera Handling Basics for Video and Stills
  • Lighting for still and video
  • Still, sound and motion collection
  • The visual and auditory narrative
  • The interview, working with your subject
  • Video shooting and editing sequences
  • Nonlinear editing
  • Working with changing technology

Basic Knowledge of HTML/CSS – Taking HTML Essential Training (including a CSS primer) on Lynda.com

Web Analytics – Taking Google Analytics Essential Training on Lynda.com

InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop CS6 – Individual courses on Lynda.com (in addition to GRA 617)

Managing Social Media Platforms (my PR Practicum with Kate Brodock, Executive Director of Digital and Social Media at Syracuse University in addition to my prior experience)

That’s about it for now.

P.S.: If you’re a recruiter at a college or university and want to know more about me, here’s my resume and a little more.